MS Connection Blog


The Past and Future of MRI in MS

Blog Summary

Most people who have been diagnosed with MS have had at least one MRI scan done of their brain. Having a scan can be a strange experience, but it’s the best tool doctors have for helping to confirm or rule out an MS diagnosis, and for tracking what MS is doing silently, even if there are no physical signs.
At the 2018 American Academy of Neurology meeting in Los Angeles, I was able to attend the lecture of this year’s winner of the John Dystel Prize for MS Research, Dr. Frederik Barkhof. He pioneered the use of MRI to improve the ability to diagnose MS, and to monitor MS and detect whether a treatment is having any benefits against the lesions—those white spots or black spots that show up on the scans...

Promising Emerging Therapies Reported at MSPARIS2017

Blog Summary

​It’s been a real energy boost to attend this conference and to feel the buzz of 10,000 people talking about the latest groundbreaking MS research. The topic of emerging therapies is near and dear to me, since I work on the research team that sniffs out possible new approaches to treating MS and restoring function.   One of these is the first report from the trial of ibudilast in people with primary progressive or secondary progressive MS. This is an oral compound that has been used in Japan at a lower dose to treat asthma and post-stroke dizziness. It’s being tested to see if it can protect the nervous system from MS damage. In a phase 2 trial involving 255 people, ibudilast was found to slow the rate of brain atrophy (shrinkage) by 48% compared to a placebo. Finding a way to slow brain atrophy, which has been linked to cognitive and physical disability in MS, may significantly slow disease progression. The main side effects were nausea and skin rash...